The Ottawa Senators put up a valiant effort, but some last-minute heroics by Ryan "Bugsy" Malone gave the Pittsburgh Penguins the win in Game 2 and a 2-0 lead in the series.
Michel Therrien knew the Senators were going to come out like a house on fire in the first period of Game 2. So, how do you counter a team playing like they have nothing to lose? Play like you have something to win.
The Penguins did just that, and they put on a dominant performance in the first 20 minutes of Game 2.
The teams battled back and forth, with the Penguins getting the majority of the scoring chances, and slowly stealing the momentum in the opening period.
The first goal of the game came on a rocket slap shot off the blade of Sergei Gonchar on a 5-on-3 advantage that favored Pittsburgh. The first period ended 1-0, thanks in large part to the solid goaltending of Martin Gerber, with some help from Volchenkov in front of the net.
The second period looked to be more of the same back-and-forth type game, until Chris Phillips cross-checked Gary Roberts in the side of the head. The Pens once again set up the power play, and a tic-tac-toe play from Crosby to Malkin to Sykora made it 2-0 Pens.
Brooks Orpik went to the box for interference, and the Sens got the ensuing power play. Marc-Andre Fleury made some big saves during the first two minute period of the series that the Sens actually attempted to score a goal.
Ruutu sprung Orpik on a breakaway out of the sin bin, but he was denied by Gerber. But the play wasn't over. Ryan Malone made a big play at the blue line to keep the puck in the Senators' zone. Malkin swoopedd down the left wing, flung the puck cross ice to Petr Sykora, who buried it, giving the Pens a 3-0 advantage.
The Sens had seen enough. Sean Donovan came out flying on the next shift, drove the net, and one-touched a pass from Chris Neil past Marc-Andre Fleury to make it 3-1. I have to give Donovan and Neil credit for stepping up when the game could have quickly gotten out of hand.
Martin Gerber kept the Sens alive throughout the game. The Sens eventually capitalized on a Tyler Kennedy penalty to make it 3-2. All of a sudden, we had a game on our hands.
The Sens knew they were only one shot away from tying it up, and were beaming with confidence having already gotten two pucks past the goaltender who stonewalled them in Game 1. The second period ends 3-2.
The third period began, and the Pens got a great chance to regain a two-goal advantage early on, when Pascal Dupuis fed a shot-pass to Marian Hossa. He somehow wound up behind Martin Gerber, but he couldn't put the puck in the net. Former 'NSYNC member Lance Bass banged a goal home in front of Fleury to even up the score, 3-3.
During the last five minutes of the game, both goaltenders made some huge saves, and it looked like we were headed for OT. With under two minutes remaining, Martin Lapointe took a high-sticking penalty on Jarkko Ruutu who came busting through the neutral zone.
Ruutu would have gotten the puck deep and most likely headed to the bench for a change. Instead, the Pens would be heading on the power play.
Sidney Crosby proved that he is indeed still a centerman by winning a faceoff on the power play. Hossa got a shot off in front of Gerber, the rebound found the stick of Ryan Malone. Bugsy showed his finesse by dragging the puck around the cage and slipping it in on the far side, barely beating the stick of Volchenkov. Just like that it's 4-3, but Elvis won't be leaving the building early in this one.
The Pens' forecheck prevented the Senators from pulling Martin Gerber for a good 30 seconds. An icing call set the stage for the final seconds. The Sens couldn't get a shot off, and the puck squirted back into the neutral zone.
Marian Hossa made a great play at the Sens' blue line, shuffled a pass over to Malone, who put the exclamation point on the game by adding an empty-net goal.
The Pens secured the victory, and took a 2-0 advantage in the series. This loss should not take away from Martin Gerber's performance. He stopped 49 of 53 shots, and without his performance, this game could have very easily been a blowout.
So, it's on to Canada for Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Wednesday. The Sens will come out more determined than ever, needing to get a win in front of the home crowd at ScotiaBank Place.
The Pens need to keep doing what they have been doing: backchecking hard, forechecking even harder, and getting as many shots on goal as possible.